DETROIT -- The hope was to get Detroit Red Wings veteran forward Todd Bertuzzi back on the ice Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena for a key game against the Los Angeles Kings.
Instead, Bertuzzi will sit out for at least one more game and hopes to return for Thursday's home game against the Nashville Predators. Bertuzzi hasn't played since Feb. 7 against the St. Louis Blues because of a painful pinched nerve in his back.
He's been skating for a while, but hasn't been able to do much conditioning work on the ice until lately. That, according to Bertuzzi, is why he isn't ready to face the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings on Wednesday night.
"I'll be ready to play [Thursday]," Bertuzzi said after working extra following Wednesday's morning skate. "I needed another hard skate. Like I said before, a week ago, I can't come in and not be ready to play a full 60 [minutes] and help out, contribute, be big down low, finish my checks. I needed another hard skate and that's what we just finished."
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock sounded both surprised and disappointed upon learning Bertuzzi's status for the game against the Kings.
"I thought he was going today," Babcock said. "Nothing made me hesitate. It wasn't my decision."